Because Iron Foundry is a fork from Cloud Foundry, there's just enough of a relationship between the two that VMware can claim .Net support with Cloud Foundry. In fact, VMware can claim the support with very little direct development effort itself -- obviously a benefit of its open source and developer outreach strategy around Cloud Foundry.
VMware could, at a later time, take the open-sourced Iron Foundry code and offer native .Net support within the base Cloud Foundry open source project and in its related commercial offerings. Considering that Microsoft is aggressively pushing Hyper-V into VMware ESX environments, there's sure to be a desire at VMware to fight on Microsoft's turf.
However, Iron Foundry is a third-party offering, over which VMware holds little say. If it falls flat against Windows Azure, VMware loses very little. After all, thanks to Tier 3, VMware didn't have to divert its development attention from its Java-based offerings on Cloud Foundry.
On the other hand, Microsoft faces the threat of Iron Foundry attracting developer attention away from Windows Azure. Until now, Microsoft has been able to expand Windows Azure into areas such as Tomcat, Node.js, and Hadoop support without having to worry about its bread-and-butter offering: support for .Net-based applications in the cloud.
Having to compete for .Net application workloads will take resources away from Microsoft's efforts to grow platform support for non-Microsoft technologies on Windows Azure -- especially if VMware actively supports or even acquires Tier 3. Such VMware involvement could prove attractive to .Net customers seeking an alternative to Windows Azure.
I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.
This article, "Microsoft Azure gets an open source rival," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Savio Rodrigues's Open Sources blog and follow the latest developments in open source at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.